United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attends a news conference at UN-run school in the northern Gaza Strip August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attends a news conference at UN-run school in the northern Gaza Strip

UN chief decries 'dramatic' humanitarian crisis in Gaza



The UN secretary-general urged Israel to ease its blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and called for large-scale foreign aid, saying the situation in the isolated territory is "one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises" he has seen.

Speaking at a UN-backed elementary school in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, Antonio Guterres also called for unity among the Palestinians' warring factions — Hamas, which rules Gaza, and Fatah, the party of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

"The division only undermines the cause of the Palestinian people," he said. In an apparent message to Hamas, he said "militantism" was causing damage to the region, adding that he had a dream to "come back to Gaza one day and to see Gaza as part of a Palestine state in peace and prosperity."

Guterres is on his first visit to the region since taking office at the beginning of the year. During a four-day visit that was ending on Wednesday, he met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to encourage the resumption of peace talks.

His stop in Gaza was meant to draw attention to the seaside territory, where conditions have steadily deteriorated since the Islamic militant group Hamas seized power a decade ago.

Israel, backed by Egypt, has maintained a blockade on Gaza, saying the measure is needed to prevent the group from smuggling weapons and fighters. Hamas seeks Israel's destruction, and the two sides have fought three devastating wars.

Years of conflict and isolation, compounded by the divide with the rival Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, have ground Gaza's economy to a standstill. Unemployment is over 40 per cent, and the territory suffers from power outages of up to 20 hours a day.

"I am deeply moved to be in Gaza today, unfortunately, to witness one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises that I have seen in many years working as a humanitarian in the United Nations," Guterres said.

In his speech, Guterres said it was crucial that peace talks aimed at establishing an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel begin. But at the same time, he called for a "program of action" to improve conditions and announced $4 million in emergency aid for U.N. activities in Gaza.

"It is important to open the closures," he said. "It is important to avoid the build-up of the militantism that can undermine the confidence between the two people."

Guterres did not meet with Hamas officials. But the group, which is considered a terrorist group by Israel and its Western allies, demanded he work to lift the Israeli-Egyptian blockade.

Hamas also demanded he approve relief and development programs and pressure Israel about the Palestinian prisoners it holds.

Israel blames Hamas for Gaza's woes, saying its tough policies are a response to the group's attempts to build cross-border attack tunnels and its development of rockets capable of striking deep into Israel. Hamas is also holding two Israeli civilians and the remains of two Israeli soldiers. Critics say the Israeli blockade amounts to collective punishment.

Prior to arriving in Gaza, Guterres took a helicopter tour of the Israel-Gaza border with Israeli officials, visited a tunnel Hamas dug into Israel to carry out attacks and met local residents living along the volatile front.

Guterres was accompanied by Danny Danon, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, and Aviv Kochavi, Israel's deputy military chief. Danon warned Guterres that Gaza's Hamas rulers have been exploiting international humanitarian aid to dig the tunnels aimed at harming Israel.

"Instead of working to ensure a better future for their children, Hamas has turned the residents of Gaza into hostages," Danon said. "At the same time, the Israeli residents of the border communities have stood strong in the face of terror threats, as they build prosperous communities and help further develop the region for the betterment of the next generation."

Hamas has ruled Gaza since seizing control of the coastal area in 2007 from forces loyal to Abbas. Repeated attempts at reconciliation have failed.

Hamas has since fought three wars with Israel, firing thousands of rockets into its territory and digging a network of offensive tunnels. It has largely observed a truce with Israel since the last battle, in 2014, though more radical groups in the territory have carried out occasional attacks.

As part of the blockade, Egypt has cracked down on the once-vibrant tunnel trade along the border. Israel began construction of an underground anti-tunnel barrier along the border last year.

Guterres' visit comes as the US is trying to revive peace talks for the first time in over three years.

The Trump administration has been speaking to Israeli and Palestinian officials, as well as leaders of moderate Arab countries, in hopes of finding a formula for talks. But it has not yet outlined a plan of action. It also has not endorsed the idea of Palestinian independence — the solution preferred by a string of predecessors and the international community.

US envoy Jason Greenblatt toured the southern border area on Wednesday, where he visited a tunnel uncovered by the Israeli military and criticised "Hamas' mismanagement of humanitarian aid and its commitment to terrorist violence."

In a final speech in Tel Aviv, Guterres said the world must remain focused on the region, and that there was no alternative to the two-state solution.

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-final, second leg result:

Ajax 2-3 Tottenham

Tottenham advance on away goals rule after tie ends 3-3 on aggregate

Final: June 1, Madrid

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

The biog

Nickname: Mama Nadia to children, staff and parents

Education: Bachelors degree in English Literature with Social work from UAE University

As a child: Kept sweets on the window sill for workers, set aside money to pay for education of needy families

Holidays: Spends most of her days off at Senses often with her family who describe the centre as part of their life too

DUNE: PART TWO

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Starring: Timothee Chamalet, Zendaya, Austin Butler

Rating: 5/5

Australia World Cup squad

Aaron Finch (capt), Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Nomad Homes
Started: 2020
Founders: Helen Chen, Damien Drap, and Dan Piehler
Based: UAE and Europe
Industry: PropTech
Funds raised so far: $44m
Investors: Acrew Capital, 01 Advisors, HighSage Ventures, Abstract Ventures, Partech, Precursor Ventures, Potluck Ventures, Knollwood and several undisclosed hedge funds

COMPANY PROFILE

Founders: Sebastian Stefan, Sebastian Morar and Claudia Pacurar

Based: Dubai, UAE

Founded: 2014

Number of employees: 36

Sector: Logistics

Raised: $2.5 million

Investors: DP World, Prime Venture Partners and family offices in Saudi Arabia and the UAE

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

HAEMOGLOBIN DISORDERS EXPLAINED

Thalassaemia is part of a family of genetic conditions affecting the blood known as haemoglobin disorders.

Haemoglobin is a substance in the red blood cells that carries oxygen and a lack of it triggers anemia, leaving patients very weak, short of breath and pale.

The most severe type of the condition is typically inherited when both parents are carriers. Those patients often require regular blood transfusions - about 450 of the UAE's 2,000 thalassaemia patients - though frequent transfusions can lead to too much iron in the body and heart and liver problems.

The condition mainly affects people of Mediterranean, South Asian, South-East Asian and Middle Eastern origin. Saudi Arabia recorded 45,892 cases of carriers between 2004 and 2014.

A World Health Organisation study estimated that globally there are at least 950,000 'new carrier couples' every year and annually there are 1.33 million at-risk pregnancies.

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

If you go

The flights Etihad (www.etihad.com) and Spice Jet (www.spicejet.com) fly direct from Abu Dhabi and Dubai to Pune respectively from Dh1,000 return including taxes. Pune airport is 90 minutes away by road. 

The hotels A stay at Atmantan Wellness Resort (www.atmantan.com) costs from Rs24,000 (Dh1,235) per night, including taxes, consultations, meals and a treatment package.
 

MATCH INFO

FA Cup final

Chelsea 1
Hazard (22' pen)

Manchester United 0

Man of the match: Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Match info

Uefa Champions League Group F

Manchester City v Hoffenheim, midnight (Wednesday, UAE)

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Barcelona 3
Messi (27’, 32’, 87’)

Leganes 1
El Zhar (68’)

Getting there
Flydubai flies direct from Dubai to Tbilisi from Dh1,025 return including taxes

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

SPECS

Engine: 4-litre flat-six
Power: 525hp (GT3), 500hp (GT4)
Torque: 465Nm (GT3), 450Nm (GT4)
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Price: From Dh944,000 (GT3), Dh581,700 (GT4)
On sale: Now

The Roundup : No Way Out

Director: Lee Sang-yong
Stars: Don Lee, Lee Jun-hyuk, Munetaka Aoki
Rating: 3/5

Some of Darwish's last words

"They see their tomorrows slipping out of their reach. And though it seems to them that everything outside this reality is heaven, yet they do not want to go to that heaven. They stay, because they are afflicted with hope." - Mahmoud Darwish, to attendees of the Palestine Festival of Literature, 2008

His life in brief: Born in a village near Galilee, he lived in exile for most of his life and started writing poetry after high school. He was arrested several times by Israel for what were deemed to be inciteful poems. Most of his work focused on the love and yearning for his homeland, and he was regarded the Palestinian poet of resistance. Over the course of his life, he published more than 30 poetry collections and books of prose, with his work translated into more than 20 languages. Many of his poems were set to music by Arab composers, most significantly Marcel Khalife. Darwish died on August 9, 2008 after undergoing heart surgery in the United States. He was later buried in Ramallah where a shrine was erected in his honour.


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